Authorities search for convicted murderer who escaped prison bus in Texas
CENTERVILLE, Texas (KBTX/Gray News) - Law enforcement officers in Texas are now offering a $22,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a convicted murderer who attacked a correctional guard during his escape from a prison bus.
The incident happened around 1:20 p.m. Thursday when 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez somehow freed himself from his restraints, according to Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The bus was en route to Huntsville from Gatesville and was approaching the town of Centerville, Texas, when Lopez made his escape, KBTX reported.
Lopez got into a physical altercation with the officer driving the bus, stabbing him in the hand with an unknown weapon, according to Hurst. The officer struggled with Lopez in order to keep him from getting to his service revolver.
The officer’s injuries are reported to not be life-threatening.
After the bus left the roadway and came to a stop, Lopez got off the bus and ran into a nearby field.
The other officer on the bus fired several shots in his direction, but Hurst said it is unknown if Lopez was hit.
The Associated Press reported there were 16 inmates on the bus at the time, but they remained seated and in their restraints.
Lopez is serving a life sentence for capital murder out of Hidalgo County and attempted capital murder out of Webb County, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. AP reported he was convicted in 2006 for killing a man near the Texas-U.S. border.
Lopez was last seen wearing TDCJ-issued white clothing and is considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff’s office reported.
“We have every reason to believe that [Lopez] is still back here in Leon County somewhere off of Highway 7, but who knows,” said TDCJ spokesperson Robert Hurst. Hurst says there have been no confirmed sightings of Lopez.
Nearby school districts, Centerville Independent School District and Leon Independent School District, canceled classes on Friday because of the ongoing search. Residents in the area have been asked to shelter in place and remain vigilant.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice advised people to immediately call 911 if they see him and not attempt to take him into custody themselves.
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